Review of Pancreatic Trauma.

Kevin E. Glancy MD, FACEP, FACS, Lehigh Valley Health Network


In reviewing the literature on pancreatic trauma (1,984 cases), I found that it resulted from penetrating trauma in 73% and blunt trauma in 27% of cases. Associated injuries were common (average 3.0 per patient). Increased mortality was associated with shotgun wounds, an increasing number of associated injuries, the proximity of the injury to the head of the pancreas, preoperative shock, and massive hemorrhage. High mortality was found for total pancreatectomy, duct reanastomosis, and lack of surgical treatment, with lower mortality for Roux-en-Y anastomoses, suture and drainage, distal pancreatectomy, and duodenal exclusion and diverticulization techniques. Most patients required drainage only. The preoperative diagnosis of pancreatic trauma is difficult, with the diagnosis usually made during surgical repair for associated injuries. Blood studies such as amylase levels, diagnostic peritoneal lavage, and plain radiographs are not reliable. Computed tomographic scanning may be superior, but data are limited.